The New York Times helps us pack: We're off on a mission of national import. The New York Times helped us pack.
But first, we'd like to make the case against playing tic-tac-toe. We'll also continue to make the case in favor of using our words.
What would it mean to use our words in discussing the misstatements of President Donald J. Trump?
It might go something like this:
It could mean that we know there are many more words than simply "misstatement" and "lie."
It could mean that, when we discuss Trump's misstatements, we refer to his "many repeated gross misstatements which fly in the face of apparent obvious fact."
It could mean that we refer to his "many repeated gross misstatements which fly in the face of obvious facts, even when such obvious facts have been widely discussed and reported."
In a related venture, it could even mean that we refer to his "occasional, peculiar statements which seem to expose him, in obvious ways, to possible legal jeopardy."
(It could mean that we don't feel we have to describe such peculiar statements as part of a plan to "keep us off balance," as Virginia Heffernan recently did in her Trumpcast chat with Professor Nyhan.)
It could also mean that we avoid playing tic-tac-toe. Here's what we mean by that:
Imagine that you're the world's greatest chess master. In a match where the prize is a quadrillion dollars, would you agree to play a 10-year-old child in a game of tic-tac-toe instead of playing him or her in chess?
Playing chess, you couldn't lose. Playing tic-tac-toe, you couldn't win. Assuming even minimal competency, every game of tic-tac-toe results in a tie. Why would you choose to play that?
Alas! When liberals insist on discussing Trump's "lies," they're agreeing to play tic-tac-toe. They're abandoning a discussion of his misstatements, a discussion which strongly favors their interests, in favor of a second-order dispute they're very unlikely to win.
Alas! Depending on the skill level of the disputants, we liberals can even lose a debate about Donald J. Trump's alleged lies. Trust us! Kellyanne's eyes grow wide with delight when liberals agree to switch the discussion to this more difficult field.
That said, the skill level in our liberal world has long been extremely low. To cite one highly significant example:
How do you think we managed to lose so many debates, for so many years, about the claim that the Social Security trust fund was just a pile of worthless IOUs?
Our skills Over Here are remarkably slight, our self-admiration remarkably high. Over the course of perhaps thirty years, this has helped give us Donald J. Trump, whose routine, repeated absurd misstatements have proven to be a bit too much for us to overcome.
That said, we're off today on a mission of national import involving a family gathering. We're able to go because a great national newspaper helped us learn how to pack.
We refer to the "Here to Help" feature on page A3 of last Wednesday's New York Times. Due to concerns about packing procedures, we weren't sure we'd be able to make this week's trip. Under the following heading, the Times stepped in to help:
Here to HelpThere it was, on page A3. We'd call it a real life-saver.
HOW TO PACK A SUITCASE
Follow these five basic tips to pack efficiently for any trip.
In truth, we actually had some initial concerns about last Wednesday's feature.
For starters, its text didn't cite any "experts." Instead, we were asked to take the advice of one "travel blogger" and one "decluttering guru."
This made us feel uneasy, almost filled us with dread.
Beyond that point of concern, some of the advice in the feature almost seemed a bit suspect. In fairness, no one could argue with a prescription like this:
"To help streamline your wardrobe, use the 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 rule for a weeklong trip."
When that rule was explained, its wisdom seemed unassailable. Still and all, we were unsure about some other bits of advice. Our Advanced Spatial Geometry Team is still unsure about this one:
"You can also roll your clothes—this helps to maximize space and minimize wrinkles."
Really? Does rolling your clothes really mean that they will consume less space? Something tells us that can't be right—but then again, we aren't decluttering gurus.
We'll return to our sprawling campus on Friday night. We don't expect to post again until the weekend.
In the meantime, we anticipate some lively games of Shopkins with a pair of great-nieces, possibly even with a great-nephew live and direct from Dublin.
(As with many parts of modern American life, this particular, home-grown game seems to have no known rules.)
We anticipate winning at Shopkins! Absent this help from the New York Times, would we have been able to pack our bag and leave our campus at all?
For further elucidation: The New York Times' daily Here to Help feature doesn't appear on line.
That said, last Wednesday's feature said we should go to this New York Times site if we need further advice.
The site is headlined thusly: How to Pack a Suitcase. "Packing may seem simple," we're instantly told, "but it is a science with rules that travelers often learn the hard way over thousands of miles on the road."
Is packing a suitcase really a science? We don't feel sure about that.
We do feel sure about this: the New York Times never exactly got around to explaining what was wrong with all those decades of bullshit about the Social Security trust fund, because of which the storied program was supposedly destined to go "bankrupt" by the year [insert random number here].
Tens of millions of people were grossly misled by that long-standing propaganda campaign. It was beyond the skill levels at the Times to unpack that disinformation and blather.
For decades, that was highly influential right-wing agitprop. Like everyone else, the New York Times pretty much let it go.
In these and many other ways, our elites have created our current world—the world of the many peculiar misstatements of President Donald J. Trump. Insisting that his groaners, misstatements and falsehoods are lies probably doesn't help.